The new directory assistance

December 10, 2009: 9:00 AM ET

Today's interoperability technologies help spawn 'frictionless innovation.'

By Jeffrey E. Ganek, chairman and CEO, Neustar

Ganek: Standards let companies focus on innovation. Photo: Neustar.

I am sure we have all heard it said (and said ourselves): "Just give me a level playing field!"  The speaker might be talking about government regulation, contract negotiations, marketing spend or even customer expectations, but in all situations "taking the pitch out of the pitch" helps businesses properly allocate resources, effectively direct the marketing spend and more quickly develop new products.  It also allows us to compete directly on the power of our ideas.

In technology, the strong tradition of standards bodies has helped immeasurably to turn ideas into new products.  Standards have helped level the playing field.  As a result, we have the interoperability, compatibility and integration of new technologies that are essential to the health of the industry and key to its role in boosting productivity.

Individual companies can play a just as important role in spurring economic vitality.  I marvel at the power of the iPhone as a software development platform, for example.  It offers functionality from more than 100,000 applications that did not exist before Apple and AT&T launched the phone service in spring 2007.  As a company, Apple (AAPL) has leveled the playing field for software application developers and reduced the cost of innovation. More

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